I posted this on Instagram recently, as have many people, because this is quite funny on some levels. I lived in Canada for 7 years and have many close friends in the country who have confirmed that the sentiment of the joke is all too real, though.
I also posted the following to contextualize my thoughts on the topic:
(This is) not far from accurate: a drug (power) crazed addict terrorizing the weak (occupants of the house) into a (false) victimhood where no one says anything out of the chance their egos get bruised because they helped build the house and invite the addict in… giving him the keys, the title and fridge…
A fascinating twist of events happened when I saw a friend of mine, who is a professional realtor, repost the same joke but without much context but to question if we should ‘laugh or cry’ over this.
Fair enough because that, too, is an important topic to consider.
Then it hit me: Here is a professional realtor who happens to support the same person I referred to in my unabashed and unapologetic negative way, but not addressing the topic in a way that might benefit us all. I’m not mentioning them because this is definitely not about them, or me, but about the topic. Joke or not, I believe we can all benefit from mulling over this in a slightly deeper way.
Thus, my question to you, my readers: What should the realtor do in this case?
First, an important premise of the thought experiment: Someone currently occupies the house, but it absolutely isn’t the original owner(s). Just because someone has been squatting on the land/property for a few years, and even if they’ve paid someone else for the privilege, does not mean they own it. Matter of fact, the current occupants are able to be there because the original occupants took the property by force, evicting the ones who were living life in harmony with and on the land there. The ones with the bigger guns got the land, built a house with gates and guards around it, and the others got evicted (to, for example, a reservation if they weren’t outright killed).
The entire property, to be certain, shouldn’t be thought of as ownable, but “it is what it is” to quote the current tenant.
[An aside: To make the area “great again” would be a glorious thing — something that would include everyone BUT the original, the real original, landsharers to leave…]
The realtor in question is, therefore, already in an interesting situation but so are we all. We need to recognize a few additional true truths (versus the fake ones the tenant also tends to spread, or accuse others of doing even when they don’t) that the tenant does NOT own the house…they’ve been given a temporary lease to reside there. Mostly rent FREE for them, by the way, paid in large by the neighborhood, but the current tenant was expected to put in their fair share, too. (Apparently they haven’t, which makes the story even more poignant.)
This temporary, 4-year rental was established on explicit and implicit expectations of decency, cleanliness, adherence to various standard behaviors/actions, etc. You trash the house, you get asked to leave.
Other tenants have stayed even longer in the place and have built not just a stronger house, but neighborhood, city and world. So whatever is currently happening in the house has less to do with the house as it does the tenant. The house, albeit obtained by less than honorable means, represents to many the best built institution yet constructed.
Which leads us to the primary ponderings of this political parody… and why answering the primary question is absolutely the most important one we all need to answer.
The realtor in question tacitly and openly helped get the current tenant into the house. The realtor absolutely knew, as did everyone, that the tenant was not your typical tenant, that they had a history of, say, boasting of being a sexual predator (which some poo-poo’d as ‘locker room talk’) and other less than heartwarming qualities (liar, cheat, adulterer, etc.), but they might not been able to predict the tenant would become as messed up as they are now.
OK, perhaps this is true and we all can see clearly now what a mess they are, but hindsight can only be 20/20 if the past and present are viewed openly and objectively.
Slowly the tenant changed (some would say deepened) into the raving lunatic and addict that continues to grow even more wild, and is threatening not just the house, but the tenants living in the apartment above, as well as those in the basement… and the entire neighborhood.
We are here, now, and able to ask a profoundly important question:
What should the realtor do now?
Should they give the tenant an extension of his lease? Is it OK to penalize and jeopardize the safety and future of the upstairs, downstairs and neighborhood people by believing their current actions justify the means of economic gain (that the realtor is most likely reaping from?)? Is it morally acceptable to look the other way, pretending that the supposed good they’re doing while living in the house is worth the risk? Should they continue trying to justify their past mistake(s) by creating incredibly incoherent excuses of how their calling is in real estate and helping people find a home, and not dealing with the subsequent sequelae of their actions, or the actions of the tenant? Should they be allowed to extend the rental agreement another, say, four years because in their mind the meth addict is not ‘hurting anyone’ even if they might be hurting themself?
Should the realtor stand fully accountable for their part in the creation of this situation? Sure they didn’t know how the past four years of life would have landed us all here, but the past is to be understood so it is not likely to repeat itself?
Should they take charge, reminding the tenant that the tenant was only allowed a temporary place to live, reiterating that NONE of us really own the house but all of us get a say of who stays. Is it time for the realtor to look for a different tenant who would not threaten the stability of the house, neighborhood, city, state and country on scales unfathomable four years ago?
What say ye, wonderful thinking audience: What should the realtor do now?